Sun Yat-sen University led an observational study with a total of 110 participants aged 18 and above, who had pathologically diagnosed colorectal cancer and were undergoing chemotherapy, and divided them equally into one control group and one intervention group.
The control group received general nutrition screening, guidelines, a recommended diet and fixed meal times. The intervention group was given individual recipes developed by a team “including specialist nurses, clinical doctors, (a) dietitian, family caregivers, and patients themselves”.
The nurses assessed the patients’ nutritional status, the dietitian calculated their energy requirements, and the doctors administered parenteral or enteral nutrition. Afterwards, a full assessment of the patients’ diet, chemotherapy, and changes in serum prealbumin levels was conducted, and their family caregivers advised by the doctors and nurses.
The study observed a “statistically significant difference before and after the nutritional intervention in patient weight and serum albumin and prealbumin levels in the intervention group”, with the improvement first occurring after six chemotherapy cycles.
Weight gain was more challenging to achieve, but the intervention group still fared better than the control group in this regard.
In contrast, “patient weight did not change significantly” in the control group, and although the patients’ serum albumin and prealbumin levels improved, this occurred only after 12 chemotherapy cycles.
The study emphasised the prevalence of weight loss in patients with progressive cancer, which has “a major impact on both morbidity and mortality”. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation also tend to be malnourished, and nutritional intervention can help patients gain weight and ensure they are properly nourished.
The study concluded that “multidisciplinary teams could provide the appropriate nutritional support essential for chemotherapy”.
“A multidisciplinary team approach for nutritional interventions conducted by specialist nurses in patients with advanced colorectal cancer undergoing chemotherapy: A clinical trial”
Authors: Jin-Xiang Lin, et al.